Methamphetamine is a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant. Individuals who misuse methamphetamine have a high risk of experiencing severe illness, accidents, injuries, or overdose. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “In 2021, approximately 32,537 people died from an overdose involving psychostimulants with abuse potential other than cocaine (primarily methamphetamine).” Exclusive Hawaii Rehab uses evidence-based and alternative holistic therapies to help clients recover from substance use disorder (SUD). The clinical team guides clients through identifying and addressing the root cause of their addictive behaviors.

What Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a Schedule II synthetic stimulant. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), “Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.”

Chronic methamphetamine misuse increases the risk of a person experiencing severe health issues, including the following:

  • Cardiovascular disease, stroke, or heart attack
  • Poor dental health, gum disease, and tooth loss
  • Damaged immune system
  • Certain cancers
  • Skin necropsy or limb amputation
  • Kidney, liver, or lung damage

Prescription methamphetamine is primarily used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and may be used for short periods to aid in weight loss. However, the prescription versions of the drug have a high potential for misuse. Illegally manufactured methamphetamine has a higher rate of addiction and an increased risk of overdose. Illicit methamphetamine may be mixed with other substances, making it more dangerous. Even a single instance of methamphetamine misuse has the potential to cause severe illness, injury, or death.

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Methamphetamine Dependency and Addiction

Chronic methamphetamine use affects the structure and function of the brain. The drug causes immediate euphoria followed by a severe comedown within 24 hours. Most people who misuse methamphetamine go through quick cycles of misuse or binge the drug until they run out to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms. According to NIDA, “The drug’s ability to rapidly release high levels of dopamine in reward areas of the brain strongly reinforces drug-taking behavior, making the user want to repeat the experience.”

Some people are more prone to developing dependency or addiction to methamphetamine, including:

  • Individuals who actively misuse alcohol and other substances
  • People with a family history of methamphetamine misuse
  • Individuals diagnosed with mental health disorders
  • Some people may have a genetic predisposition

Everyone has different risk factors and thresholds for substance misuse.

Health Side Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse

The chemical makeup of methamphetamine is similar to the neurotransmitter dopamine, and it directly affects dopamine regulation. Physical changes to the brain make it incredibly difficult to break out of the cycle of abuse created by the effects of methamphetamine addiction. Most health complications caused by methamphetamine misuse are cumulative. Early intervention and professional addiction recovery programs provide the best outcome for individuals who misuse methamphetamine.

Some of the primary cognitive effects of chronic methamphetamine use include:

  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Unusual aggression
  • Difficulty learning new tasks

According to the Psychiatric Clinics of North America,Chronic Meth users have deficits in memory and executive functioning as well as higher rates of anxiety, depression, and most notably psychosis.”

Warning Signs and Symptoms

The physical, psychological, and behavioral changes caused by methamphetamine misuse range from mild to severe and manifest differently for each person.

Individuals actively misusing the drug may exhibit the following signs:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Facial tics and other muscle twitches
  • Fidgeting and hyperactivity
  • Significant weight loss and changes in appetite
  • Unusual or rapid eye movements
  • Skin sores or lesions
  • Burns on lips or fingers
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Teeth rotting or aggressive gum disease
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Unusual agitation, irritation, or aggression

Many people who misuse methamphetamine have co-occurring conditions influencing how they react to various side effects and symptoms. The cycle of addiction and symptoms of co-occurring disorders makes it difficult for people to recognize they have a problem. Friends and family must often prompt their loved ones to seek help. Individuals and families concerned about methamphetamine misuse can reach out to Exclusive Hawaii Rehab for additional information and intervention assistance.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

Treatment Options at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Exclusive Hawaii Rehab offers a wide range of treatment programs and services, including:

  • Interventions
  • Detox
  • Stabilization
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • MAT management/withdrawal
  • Residential (RTC)
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Aftercare
  • Sober companions
  • Alumni services

The clinical team collaborates with clients and their families to ensure the root cause of their condition is addressed during treatment. Holistic and evidence-based therapies provide clients and their loved ones with a solid foundation for long-term recovery.

Alumni Services and Community Involvement

Treatment programs provide essential tools and skill development to individuals in recovery. However, many people continue to need support for mental health issues or prolonged symptoms of SUD during aftercare and ongoing recovery. Peers and local recovery resources ensure clients continue to heal and maintain healthy lifestyle changes established during treatment.

Clients transitioning out of treatment programs benefit from taking advantage of alumni services, including:

  • Community events
  • Support groups
  • Alumni referrals

Often, individuals recovering from methamphetamine misuse have underlying issues like trauma requiring long-term treatment. The clinical team at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab provides referrals and information on community-based support services, therapy, and counseling for individuals who require additional care and support during ongoing recovery.